tv [untitled] January 21, 2011 6:30am-7:00am PST
indigenous people of the world as if we were garbage to be thrown away. when i had told amy [inaudible] madison that the first time i saw the statute of liberty i thought the statute was a huge white unbreakable doll. amy said her memory of the statute was of her little brother crying. what will happen to us now? if the people don't like us where will we go. we have nowhere to go. will they throw us back to the sea. we don't have a home anymore. anywhere. memory does have a home land. it appeared to me once in the memory of a phone call our mother's bright flame for amy. before i could say, how are you.
amy said, a wonder thing happen indeed a conference in japan last month much i was walking with a japanese woman talking about literature when she stopped, turned to me and said, are we still college eyes to you for what we did to your mother in chien and i apologize to you. amy laughed when she said anger disappeared from my life from my very body when my new friend spoke to me. when she acknowledged my childhood grieve and offered hope in the form of an apology. thank you. [applause] >> our next reader is grace angel. she is painter, poet and
photographer. married and has 2 girls she is an event planner and art's fundraiser. her works have been exhibited in the bay area and international. she's working on poems entitled, from a fanatic heart. grace. written at a time when i'd say was my hungry period. the first is bones. my bones are bleached white under your stare while you warm your hands under my open wounds i swallow the air you exheal and pluck the bones from your rib cage and i will make a man out of you. my bones memorized the weight of your since. they are brittle with forgiveness. my thighs unfold as you press
the palm of your hand against my curving spine and plant your bones inside my garden. this one is draft it's the one in thean tholology. he smoothed the wrinkles on my bell and he sucked my bitter fruit. we plowed an ocean in my navel and sowed mountains of regrets into fields. we allowed only the memory of water to sustain our thirst. we dreamt of rain and listened for our trees to bare fruit. >> the next is inspired by my mother, are we all? this is garden. the gate to my mother's garden
opened always trees flirt with shadows and the grass says my same. asleep in flowered boxes pay for rain. i open always the gate to my mother's garden. i will plant my sum in a clay pot an offering to jealous gods and stretch my arms like branches bearing fruft foregiveness. this was inspired by my mother who likes to sew. always had an old singer sewing machine and i bought her a new one but she never uses it. this is called cloth. her cracked lipped clenched to thread a dulling needle. the folds of my mother's dress are sewn with blody hands.
tattered promises and button holes filled with bottomless dreams. her she was held up with borrowed strent. she asked, when will i have a home? one day i uttered. i will plant around my house she said. green ooh vy will grow and the cat will lay to the grass dreaming of snow. >> my mother's dress i folded in the suitcase. what slowly devour the fabric quietly releasing my mother's scent.
caught in the decaying cloth. i'm sorry. i'm sorry about that. this piece was inspired by you know what happens to people during the war. and the war affects not only people that are in the middle of the war but generations therefore. this is called, which means flash fire and a wild sharp blades of grass that grows all over the philippines. the room was soaked with the fragrance of mangos. my mind is buzzing with flies. in the other room, my mother is mumbling and crying in her sleep. every night she dreams of the young american solder, the prisoner of war she had seen as
a child in the philippineses. he was a blue eyed giant towering over the japanese soldiers. his khaki uniform was torn and stained with dried blood and mud. the faded white tag across his shirt read, private d packston. the solders marched him to the river and made him kneel bite coconut trees on the riverbanks much the japanese officer drew his long sword, dip it in the running water, swung it high and one swoop, cut the american's head off. seconds before the blade hit him the american shouted something. perhaps his mother's name or a lover he had back home.
may be it was the name of his god. he called out, but it did not matter. his head turned circles in the air before landing with a small that you had on the soft muddy banks of the river. my mother opened her mouth and tried to scream as the head rolled past her feet. on the far hills red sparks littered dark skies like fire flies swimming. the crackling of the burning grass hiszed at the quiet country night. my mother wis perred. in the last stages of the war the retrieving army would burn the dry grass. my mother's family came upon the
burnt out fields and found the body of a dog still smoking from the fire. it's tongue was sticking out of his charred skull. my mother heard it whine. it's only the wind my grand mother told her. but the clouds above stood still. there was no wind that day. it is almost dawn. she is quiet now. mother, i said, stroking her hair and forehead. she opens her eyes and for a moment creeps me with a blank stare as if i was part of the nightmare. but she smiles and the past restores itself. i kept you up again my mother said. no. it was the heat, i answered softly. inhealing the frayingance of mangos that drifted in from the
orchard. and bowed my head to the mercy of the flies. my last piece is about what it was like what it might feel like to be dead. i was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. luckily i'm here but there were sleepless nights i thought, what would it be like to be dead. so -- >> the dead listened with her ice. their voices heavy with regret drop like grain on deaf pavements where children listen and trace their shadow. they dance memorize steps on wooden stairways. they sleep with their eyes open dreaming of half eaten cake. low
hum of a car radio. the feel of water. the taste of skin. thank you. [applause]. closing out our evening of readers is ahn wa received msa of creative writing. and the ardela literary composition prize in creative nonfiction. her work has been published in several an tholologies including our cheers to muses. in addition to writing and performing she published and hand bound artist books and is a photographer and print maker. lives and creates in oakland. i would like to introduce ahmwa.
[applause] flesh of my flesh. the woman who invented clothes was a woman. she knew the power of a well placed leash. knew there was no looking back. once man laid himself upon her he was cleave into her. need the clay of her. she knew then shield always need a sheath. a shield from shame. the early pain of having been divided. >> first sin. forgive me for coveting my mother's breast until it bled iodine to deceive me.
165. you cried when i left for california. you and bastand figure the driveway. i didn't expect that from you. wasn't prepare for the weeping that would last until i cross the the state border. when i got to oakland my emotions leaked like a wildfire. they are the kind that destroy you, your security your shell. it almost killed me the home sickness the longing and anger that flawed itself into a stone in my throat. 165 days until i see you again. how many days in a semester. how long before i can go home? sometimes you need to burn everything to begin a new and here there are no science the deaths are not as severe the pure ifkification not complete.
to let the natural of the sun have it's way with me. to feel the tips of grass force through the ashes of earth the complicated earth that seechls soft at the surface and yet so deep. that is how i feel the hidden layers of hardness, liquid and flame. can anything survive at the core. must i always hold people at a distance never let them settle inside me. mother there is not enough room for me in your womb. that's why i left. to seek a home a place where i could grow. 165 miles i crieds, 165 times i missed you today. 165 meals that did not satisfy.
165 was not the number of my dorm room. 165 dollars for a 1 way ticket. 651 the area code home. >> this is a record. phone rings, a set in mother tone asks, what are you eating, how are you getting around? warns me to lock all the locks on the door. my voice plays over and over half truths with fragmented vietnamese. i don't tell her that the locks have already been locked the click, click change of chain to groove. i don't tell her about my fear. i don't tell her i can't lock out the sirens, smut and paranoia of taxi cabs. the tortured baby crying scents of yeast from the bagel shop.
extremes of heat and fall and unexpected rain. i don't tell her that hearing the weariness of her voice i can feel her flannel nightgown wet with my tierce much the smell of ponds cold cream makes me sad. how i long to wrap my arms around her warm bell e. instead i say, i'm fine. eating, taking subway. i don't tell her that today i wept over a bowel of ph o. >> 100 degrees cellsius. there is no going back you and i. like broth clouded by the blood. so this next poem is actually in the tears to me antholology.
a vietnamese woman artist, composure you name it she does it. i wonder if she bakes i never asked her but. this is a buddhist heart. each time i burned my body for you my heart remanipulained in . i watched the saffron flames engulf me seer my skin, flesh of a plum stripped of it's peel. tender and glowing like mars, i would rise to the sky for you to see me. in those moments i was your torch and we were united. united by the scents the heat the shutter. for love of another i'd say to
myself, faithful in muted pain. my hope, my heart extinguishing as you stood there paralyzed each time like a still camera unable to look away. infraction. if my love were smooth and lustrous would you spit me open and fill me up again. would you kiss the scar you made of me name it and claim me like a mountain. bear witness to holiness where 2 rocks collide. if my was unpenetrable and clear would you search your whole life destroying me just to hold me to the light? i am listening you like rain that slips through fingers
missing you like childhood dreams and mother's mill ik. like an earing under a bed. links of moon that pass. with years reflected in glass. the silver seams behind eyes. if you happen to find my love hidden in the openal of your memory, would you return my uncertainty? my last poem, i'd like to dedicate to all the people who have ever lost someone that they love. and as nancy said you get to a certain age and people start passing away. and it's kind of bizarre when you lose a parent and realize you are a member of some strange society where no one understands how you feel.
i want to say this is something that i'd like to share. inheritance. you were stubborn until the end. i felt your spirit tremor in my hand, your fears gach. the hospital room was filled with ice witnesses that denied me the last thing imented from you to lay curled with you alone once more. to be a girl again and feel the balloon of your belly rise and fall. pat your cheeks soft as apcots. hear your breathing soothe me to sleep. that day i wrapped my arms around the shirt necessary your closet still hanging i felt them fill my grieve felt them hallow in your absence much the waling never ends inside and sometimes
i think i have lost you like a hat. misplaced you in the messiness of my surroundings. you see, your stubbornness was woven into me woven into the clothes we both wore. strands that decide where we shared resistance, pushed needles. that's how i held on to you how a sewed myself to your side a seam raised into a scar at the end. thank you. [applause]
born in tennessee. daughter of robert and irma. at age of 3 moved to missouri and returned when she was 12 years old. patricia grew up with segregation and injustices which she writes about. she spent many countless hours in the nashville public library. it was her family life that was bountiful and flowing with tales told by her story telling grandfather. raised with love of reading and oral tradition. graduated from tennessee state and degree in english in 1964. she married her childhood friend on december 12. they are the parents of fredrick and twins robert and john. her education continued with a
master's degree in early childhood literature, and programming in 1975 from webster university. patricia has a successful career as a teacher and children's book editor. she changed careers to become a full time writer of children and young adult books. her goal is to create books for and about african-americans. i write because there is a need to have books for, by and about the african-american experience and how we helped to develop this country. i present to you patricia makinsik heart of literacy. >> i am from st. louis, missouri. a lot of you think i have said it in correctly when i said missouri. you think i got it slid into my
southern dialect, right? no. i was not born in st. louis. i was born in nashville, tennessee, a little town side of nashville. that is where i grew up, went to high school, met and married my husband. moved back to st. louis where i lived part of my life. i heard people saying missouri and missouri. what is the correct pronunciation of our new home? the best place to go when you want information is where? >> [inaudible]. >> of course, we all know that. i went to the library and the librarian gave me a wonderful book and began a life long
friendship with the librarian. missouri is the native american pronunciation. in their language it is the people of the big boats. one word means all of that. missouri. frenchman who came up the mississippi river. they said that would be a great place to have a trading post. they set up a trading post and called it st. louis. missouri became missouri. now i ask you which is correct? missouri or missouri? >> missouri. okay. neither one. [laughter].
you can't say the native americans were wrong for saying missouri. you can't say the french were wrong for pronouncing it in their language, just different ways of pronouncing the same word. that is where we have the problem with the word different. different isn't a synonym of the word wrong. we have to be careful how we use it and our children. it answers the question, why do you write that? i write to tell the story. one that has fallen through the cracks, one marginalized by main stream history. either misrepresented or represented to the way in which
it is a stereo typical, write to take those stereotypes, reshape them and give them back to you dressed in a new dress. i mean when i say different is not a synonym for wrong, it means that we should celebrate those things. everyone in this room is different in some way. but you should not feel bad about that. your uniqueness, as my grandson who loves to make up words, that is your wonderment. [laughter]. it answers that question that we get asked most often is why do you write? you can say pat is write to tell that different story and
different is not a synonym for wrong. before i was a writer, however, i was a listener. i grew up listening to stories. listening to language. come with me to nashville, tennessee to an old farmhouse set back off the road, a little house, window here, window here and doorway that looked like a face. the windows, door, and front porch kind of sag so it looked like a smiling face. [laughter]. then there was a long sidewalk that led up to the house. when you turn and started toward it, you felt like you were going to a warm and